Building Human Capital and Parliamentary Cooperation
Building human capital
Building human capital through development of education, science, research and culture is fundamental not only for strengthening administrative capacities but also for increasing long-term competitiveness of South East Europe. It is also crucial for successful European integration, taking into account the objectives of Lisbon Strategy and Europe 2020. While human capital development is a national priority throughout the region, current investment levels in this field are far below what is needed.
Developing comprehensive regional strategies is the main challenge at the regional level for the coming period. Strengthening of the existing networks and connecting regional cooperation mechanisms is another objective.
Rapid internationalization of knowledge and development of communications introduce a strong international component to the process. The common background and similarities between the educational systems in the region provide an additional justification for regional cooperation. Regional projects foster knowledge transfer, exchange of best practices, and can lower project realization costs. Regional university cooperation and development of a comparable system for evaluation of education are good examples. Such cooperation can lead to improved transparency of qualifications and allow greater mobility of workers, students and academics within the region.
The RCC facilitates development of regional projects and promotes identified regional priorities. It is a member of a Steering Group within the Novi Sad Initiative for guiding and monitoring progress of Higher Education Structural Reform project. Special emphasis will be placed on ensuring synergy and avoiding overlap with currently ongoing EU education programmes. The RCC provides support to promotion and development of education reform processes, in cooperation with existing regional initiatives, with the aim of further integration with the European Higher Education Area.
The RCC will work to strengthen cooperation with the newly established Regional School for Public Administration (ReSPA), with a view to developing joint regional programmes for training of public officials.
By facilitating work of the experts from the region, the RCC contributes to development of the Regional Strategy for Research and Development for Innovation for the Western Balkans, a project co-financed by the European Commission, that will develop a comprehensive regional research strategy with emphasis on identifying existing research capacities and considering how networking and interconnections can be established and/or improved among Western Balkans institutes and researchers. The RCC Secretariat will channel the work towards establishment of benchmarks for research and innovation systems and cooperation at the regional level, as well as explore possibilities to finance such regional initiatives, including from the business sector.
South East Europe has a rich and diverse cultural heritage which often crosses existing borders. Identification and restoration of cultural sites is essential and has an important political dimension by contributing to reconciliation.
In line with a decision by the Western Balkans culture ministers, the RCC has taken on the role of the coordinator in the new phase of Ljubljana Process as of 2011 (Ljubljana Process II). The process is being supported by the European Commission. A Task Force on Culture and Society has been established by the RCC in late 2010, and a permanent Secretariat will be established by the RCC in Cetinje, Montenegro, in spring 2011, in order to undertake the Ljubljana Process management and fund-raising activities and to be a counterpart of national task forces which will be created in each country of the region.
Developing supportive networks among civil society and youth organizations and their inclusion in building human capital projects is of great importance for reaching the set objectives.
Functional and efficient democratic institutions are a prerequisite for political stability, economic development, social cohesion and overall trust in democracy. In South East Europe, parliaments, as legislators, play a central role in promoting and implementing reforms, notably within the framework of the countries’ European agenda, as well as in the context of common efforts for harmonization and alignment of legislation with the EU acquis.
The RCC has identified the following two priorities, aimed at strengthening parliamentary cooperation in the region and improving coordination between existing initiatives:
- Assisting the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) in developing the parliamentary dimension of its work. The RCC Secretariat contributes to the preparation of SEECP Speakers of Parliament meetings, including drafting of related documents. It helps establish a network of national coordinators at the level of Members of Parliament and supports the implementation of relevant meeting documents. To this end, the RCC Secretariat closely cooperates with the SEECP Troika and the Sofia-based Regional Secretariat for Parliamentary Cooperation in South East Europe.
- Developing the Cetinje Parliamentary Forum into a hub for enhanced coordination of parliamentary activities in the Western Balkans, compatible to the EU acquis, through its institutionalization and establishment of a sustainable Secretariat. The RCC will contribute to setting up the Forum’s Secretariat and provide political and technical support.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Romania (Senate of Romania and Chamber of Deputies)
Parliament of Kosovo represented in the RCC by UNMIK in accordance with UN SC Resolution 1244
RCC and Regional Initiatives and Task Forces in South East Europe